I am a red meat and potatoes kind of girl. So giving up all meat for Lent is one of the healthiest – and cheapest – decisions I have made in a long time.
I’m not really religious but I think it is important to remember what it feels like to want something you cannot have. My deprivation is artificial, but reminds me of all I have in my life.
I have already slipped up twice – chicken wrapped in bacon! – but I hope to win a few brownie points with God by highlighting the virtues of practicing sacrifice. This particular sacrifice has the added bonus of saving me money. Wahoo!
My grocery bill in February was $364.96. In March it was just $157.78. Not all of that drop is because of meat, however. I was out of town for two weeks last month, so I’m guessing when I was gone Hubby took most of his meals at work (they bribe the employees with grub to work longer).
A more accurate comparison is the cost of vegetarian protein v. the cost of animal protein. A 14-ounce can of black beans that provides 3 meals cost $.89 at Trader Joe’s. A 19-ounce pack of organic tofu that will generate 5 meals cost $1.19 at Trader Joe’s. Total cost for protein in 8 meals: $2.08. Protein cost per meal: $.26.
Before I gave up meat I bought a whole chicken for $7.48 ($.99/lb) at Albertsons that would have made 6 meals. A pork shoulder for $6.88 ($2.99/lb) would have made 5 meals. Total cost for 11 meals $14.36. Cost per meal: $1.30.
Meat is expensive! To be exact, meat costs $1.05 cents more per person per meal. For a family of four that eats meat 7 nights a week at dinner, going vegetarian could save you $29 per week or $1,522 per year. If you buy pricey cuts of meat, you will save even more.
I could never give up meat – I am already planning how to break my fast – but now that I know how much eating vegetarian saves me, I’m going to pass on meat more often.